Ivan Julian has played with everyone from Matthew Sweet to the Clash. He was also a part of the seminal mid-Seventies punk band Richard Hell & the Voidoids. Surprisingly, the Naked Flame marks Julian’s first-ever solo record. Icon Fetch sits down with the influential guitarist and producer to talk about why now was the right time for his solo debut, plus the inspiration behind many of the songs, and how he feels about the current crop of new bands.
Over the Rhine has just released a brand-new CD The Long Surrender helmed by studio ace Joe Henry (Solomon Burke, Ani Difranco). The thirteen tracks on the disc are both warm and haunting at the same time. At the band’s core is the husband and wife team of Linford Detweiler and Karin Bergquist, who’ve been making critically-acclaimed music for over 20 years now. Icon Fetch talks with Detweiler about the recording process with such a prominent producer, the unique instruments on the album, and having a little help from their fans in funding their new project.
Auditorium is a one-man-band project of Spencer Berger, whose new CD is called Be Brave. The 30-minute song cycle was recorded solely by Berger in his LA bedroom. The album utilizes very few elements; only his lead and background vocals, accompanied by his acoustic guitar and bass. Yet, the result sounds surprisingly orchestrated, with Berger’s haunting background vocals at the forefront. Icon Fetch talks to the leader of Auditorium about the long process of recording the CD, putting together an actual group to promote the album, and how Berger literally ran into opera-star Pavarotti while singing at the NY Met as a child.
Underground pioneer Steve Wynn has been making critically-acclaimed records for over thirty years. He led the Dream Syndicate, who received substantial college radio airplay through most of the Eighties, before venturing out on his own. His latest project, Northern Aggression, recorded with his band the Miracle 3, has a grittier feel than his previous efforts. Icon Fetch talked with Wynn about recording his new record and a recent ESPN-sanctioned “supergroup” called the Baseball Project, which also includes Peter Buck of REM.
Better Than Ezra first broke on the scene in 1995 with “Good” from their album Deluxe. Several other hits on alternative radio would follow. The band is currently on their “Road to Mardi Gras” tour which caps off with the “Krewe of Rockus” 3-day event, the first weekend in March. The band is offering a destination package for Mardi Gras where Better Than Ezra are your hosts during the festivities, including hotel and food. Icon Fetch talks with lead singer Kevin Griffin about the event, having written a recent smash for Sugarland on the Country charts, and his band’s classic album Deluxe, celebrating 15 years.
Outrageous is his middle name. Mojo Nixon first rose to prominence in the mid Eighties with a string of punkbilly college radio hits like “Stuffin’ Martha’s Muffin,” “Burn Down the Malls,” and his most-famous track, “Elvis is Everywhere.” As his music career waned, Nixon found work as a DJ, first in Cincinnati, and now on Sirius XM Radio, where he hosts a daily afternoon show on the Outlaw Country channel. He also hosts two weekly shows, one on NASCAR and one loosely based on politics. Icon Fetch talks with the king of satellite radio about the difference in all his shows, plus his bold move in 2009 to give away his entire music catalog for free on amazon.com for a month. Listen to the Mojo Nixon interview on Icon Fetch below.
Tommy Keene has been making his brand of melodic rock for almost 30 years now. His early independent releases garnered high praise from critics, and when he jumped to a major label, big things were expected. Through a series of industry blunders and bad luck, Keene’s rock star ship never came in. Despite the numerous setbacks, the excellent quality of his songs has never wavered. He’s just released his first-ever career spanning collection called Tommy Keene You Hear Me: A Retrospective 1983-2009. Icon Fetch talks to the influential songwriter about his many pitfalls, as well as how he assembled his new collection, and teamed up with Bob Pollard of Guided By Voices.
The Gin Blossoms had one of the biggest albums of the Nineties in New Miserable Experience, which yielded the hits “Hey Jealousy,” and “Found Out About You.” The band has just put the finishing touches on their fourth full-length, No Chocolate Cake, which is full of the jangly, melodic pop that helped them sell over five million records to date. Icon Fetch talks with guitarist and founding member Jesse Valenzuela about the recording process, how Badfinger helped influence one of the songs, and how he’ll NEVER play “Mustang Sally,” no matter how many requests he gets for it. Click below for the Jesse Valenzuela Gin Blossoms interview.
Squeeze has made some of the greatest pop music of the last 30 years, with gems like “Another Nail in My Heart,” “Tempted,” and “Black Coffee in Bed.” These days, there’s a great deal of money in song placement in commercials and films. Problem is, with the lousy contract the boys signed in their teens, they have no say in the placement of old songs, nor do they receive any money for them. Here comes Spot the Difference to the rescue; 14 of Squeeze’s best-known classics meticulously re-recorded to painstaking detail…so much so, that they dare you to Spot the Difference. Click below for the Chris Difford Squeeze interview.
The Toadies had a monster hit in 1995 with “Possum Kingdom.” The parent album, Rubberneck, sold a million copies…then the band disappeared. Actually, they recorded a follow up, Feeler, which the record company rejected, killing the band’s momentum and sending them back to the drawing board. They eventually broke up in 2001. After a successful reunion album, No Deliverance, in 2006, they’ve decided to revisit the old songs from 13 years ago; the songs that were inexplicably seen unfit to release. Click below to hear the Clark Vogeler Toadies interview.